Finally got around to seeing this precode, and just fell in love with Ruth Chatterton. I've also read that this role is too similar to Madame X. Thoughts?
Frisco Jenny is perhaps my favorite pre-code film. It's a kind of an inverted Madame X: In Madame X, the son is the lawyer who gets his mother acquitted; in Frisco Jenny her son is the DA who convicts his mother. It's a rich, moving film, with great performances and one of the great heart-breaking final scenes: Helen Jerome Eddy burning the clippings, shot from the far side of the fireplace. What a scene! Among its many other virtues, the film has great music, from the opening credits to the final scene and closing credits.
Frisco Jenny also shows the cause of the San Francisco earthquake: the slap Jenny gets from her father. (played by Robert Emmett O'Connor). Go back and look at it; he slaps her, the building shakes; the earthquake destroys much of San Francisco. All because of that slap.
Ruth Chatterton is my favorite pre-code actress. And I like her beyond that period as well.